Phil Hughes' debut goes about as good as one could hope

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Phil Hughes 2.jpgSure, he could have thrown a three-hit shutout and fanned 11, but that wasn’t realistic. As it was, the winner of the most over-hyped competition for a fifth starter’s slot in baseball history was respectable against the Angels last night: Two runs in five innings and change, striking out six.

He walked too many guys — five — and gave up a home run to Hideki Matsui, but (a) he had enough run support to survive the walks; and (b) giving up a home run to Hideki Matsui in his return to Yankee Stadium is probably one of the most easily-pardonable sins imaginable.

And about those walks: as the guys at River Ave. Blues point out this morning, Hughes may have been getting squeezed. Check out the pitch chart. Those little green blocks at the bottom of the zone are strikes that were called balls. This is a continuing theme, of course.  It was Jerry Layne doing the squeezing last night.

That aside, Hughes’ start has to be a really encouraging sign for the Yankees. They won the World Series with three decent starting pitchers last year. If Hughes’ debut form holds for the year, they’ll have five.

Rangers may move on from Jeff Banister

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Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the rebuilding Rangers are considering moving on from manager Jeff Banister. Wilson notes that the Rangers aren’t sure if Banister is the right person to lead the club when they become competitive again. Additionally, Wilson notes that there have been some communication issues with Banister, such as not telling players when they’re getting a day off and suddenly inserting players into the lineup without notification. According to Wilson, some players feel their concerns have fallen on “deaf ears” when presented to Banister.

In four years under Banister, the Rangers have gone 325-313 (.509) overall. They went to the playoffs in 2015 and ’16 but lost in the Division Series to the Blue Jays both times, 3-2 and 3-0, respectively.

GM Jon Daniels said he is pleased with the way some players, namely Ronald Guzman, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, José Leclerc, and Jurickson Profar, have developed under Banister. But it remains to be seen if that will be enough to keep Banister in town.

Banister is under contract for the 2019 season, as the Rangers exercised his option last year.